I had a dream. I don’t have a lot of dreams but it always seems when I do they mean something to me. Shrouded in cryptic messages from the subconscious (even though I know this isn’t really how dreams work). The other day my dream was something like this…
I have extension cords coming out of my chest. I am plugged into other people’s hearts, my kids, my husband, my mom, my sister, my best friend. And there is another cord connecting my head with my torso. Certain people walk by me and I disconnect my head from my body and connect to them. I am fulfilled for a moment. Surges of energy pulsing between us, but my head rolls away and things get foggy for me. Then I disconnect from everyone, my husband first, my inner circle after that, just chasing this emotional high from the love connection. I realize when I wake up from my dream that I have a problem.
I’m the type of person who is always starving for emotional connection. I’m desperate for it. While I’m still learning how to describe and identify the feeling exactly, it’s most likely because of the psychological abuse I grew up with. All I wanted was connection, a real conversation, a one-on-one, that-makes-perfect-sense-why-you-would-feel-that-way type of connection.
I had issues growing up. By the time I was 13, my mental illness was just beginning to form it’s little bud in me. I was a teen with depression, I was an insomniac which furthered my problem with emotional control, I was anxious and angsty. No one ever sat down with me and said “Yep, all those feelings make sense.” Instead I was met with an “It’s sin, pray for deliverance” type of love. I was a sinner, not a hurting kid.
So of course, when people come along and validate me instead of judging me, I throw everything I am at them. I disconnect from everything and give them the entirety of myself. I used to think this was noble, to love so hard. Now, I know it’s unhealthy. I’m only one person, with so much love (though in the high times it feels limitless, as if I have enough love for the whole world). Imagine I baked one cake to feed everyone I love, a love cake if you will. I cant give the new object of my affection more than what they deserve. And to be entirely honest, it’s not even right to be cutting the whole cake evenly. First and foremost, I need the biggest slice. (Which seems completely backwards for me to say coming from religious conditioning that tells you to put yourself last) I need to be fulfilled with myself. Emotionally connected to me. I need to understand me and know me and be able to represent myself in the way I intend to. When I’m not fully connected to myself I do stupid things. That’s the best way to describe it. I just do stupid things. When I am completely fulfilled in myself, it’s easier to give to those around me because I am filled up and happy. So yes, I have to prioritize my health and happiness first. Then my husband and children deserve the next biggest piece. While serving myself might offer me a chance to recharge, serving them does not. Giving my family the love they deserve is draining. It’s most of me. It’s my biggest focus in this life above all other things. I even wrestle sometimes with prioritizing my dreams and my family, because both are so important to me. My personal definition of a good mother, the way I can feel proud of myself as a mom, requires most of my attention and love. That’s ok! That’s good! I’m happy with this because I know what it means to prioritize. Then comes my inner circle. My mom, my best friend, my sister. They get the next slices of my love cake. There’s not much left but I give them what I have. I normally feel like it’s not nearly enough at that, so when more people come into my life I have to recognize now this boundary I have created for myself. I only baked one cake. What more do I have to give someone, other than giving them the piece that belongs to me or my family or my inner circle.
This just has to be a fact for me now, because the truth is, I’M STILL LONELY. Weird isn’t it? I feel like I love people and people love me and I’m balanced and happy, yet my brain keeps saying “bake more cakes”. I wouldn’t even know how to do that, at least not yet.
But I wanna come back to the extension cords. The love connections. Those precious things I value so much. I remember there was a time in my life when I cried to my husband about how surface level everything was. My conversations with people, my interactions, there was no depth. I could not find anything real. Then I met someone real. Someone deep like me. I felt that surge of emotion pulsing between us. The LOVE connection was engaged. But the bad thing about being emotionally starving (and at this time I was giving my cake to absolutely everyone) is that once someone gives you a bite of their love cake, you want their whole cake too. If they are healthy and well loved, they will only give you only what they can (I have a beautiful friend who I feel understands this so well, if she’s reading this I love you Amanda.) But if they are starving like me, it gets really messy. It becomes codependent (eat my cake and I’ll eat yours) until someone realizes how messed up this really is and the friendship ends. This is why I keep loosing friends. I let them eat all of my cake and I try to eat all of theirs.
I have moved into a more disciplined mindset lately, mostly because I feel a manic high coming on and I’m honestly terrified because of how chaotic the last one was, but I know who deserves my love cake now! Not everyone!
REPEAT AFTER ME!
NOT EVERYONE DESERVES A SLICE OF YOUR LOVE CAKE!
You deserve the biggest slice.